The Need for Medicare and Medicaid Reform, in Charts

Kevin Glass

4/20/2012 12:45:00 PM - Kevin Glass
The CBO has some interesting data visualization out today that highlights how the federal government is spending money. There's information on revenues, discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and food stamps. All interesting, but the most revealing is mandatory spending.

Check out the incredible increase in mandatory health care spending, driven almost entirely by Medicare and Medicaid. Since 1991, health spending by the federal government has gone from under 3% of GDP to over 6%. Compared to these programs, Social Security is almost a blip on the radar.

Reform of the way (and the sheer amount) that the federal government spends on health care is absolutely necessary. This is why Rep. Paul Ryan has become a star in the GOP - he recognizes the fiscal crisis facing us is the most important public policy problem of our time. More than that, he takes it seriously, developing plans that would put us on a road to fiscal sanity and even working with Democrats in an attempt to build a coalition strong enough to pass reform legislation.

Ryan's own charts show, in perhaps starker contrast to the CBO's high-gloss creations, puts into simple terms what faces the nation - and remember, this is largely driven by the massive increases in spending that Medicare and Medicaid are going to rack up in the next few years.

With progressives happy to push increased spending on education, infrastructure, poverty, health care, insurance, and seemingly everything else under the sun, remember: there's basically not enough money in the world to pay for what we already have. Reform is needed, and reform is necessary.

Hat tip: CRFB